After working at DC Central Kitchen and Food & Friends last week, we began volunteering at various sites around the city, as organised by the Youth Service Opportunities Project (YSOP). YSOP worked to connect us to diverse experiences and also give us time to reflect on those experiences.
On Wednesday–despite the shutdown of the DC metro system!–one group of students worked at Seabury Age-In-Place, an organization that works to help people meet the financial and physical demands of maintaining their own home as they age. Outdoor work is often some of the most demanding, and so our group worked to clean up the yard of Ms. M, a gently smiling woman in her nineties. We raked, mowed, weed-wacked, and reflected on the unconsidered challenges of growing old and the tenuous security of home in the clear spring sunshine.
The other group traveled to So Others Might Eat (SOME). SOME is a wide-reaching organisation trying to meet the needs of the poor and homeless, from food to medical care. The group participated in their daily meal distribution program, serving food and conversing in an inviting dining hall. We served 160 guests at the first seating, and then, following cleanup, 140 more! We were delighted by an impromptu (and exceptional) piano performance by one guest, who communicated beautifully with his music despite a clear discomfort engaging others.
After group discussion at YSOP, some students traveled to the Renwick Gallery and experienced the marvel of the exhibit Wonder!